Sunday, November 4, 2007


When someone says the word "family" to me I think of my nuclear family: my parents and siblings. To anyone who has children, "my family" means themselves: their spouse and their child or children. I think of me and D as a couple, a unit, a pair, a partnership...but not a family. Maybe I would feel differently if we never wanted children and never tried to have a baby, but since we did and failed, it doesn't seem to fit.

Yesterday I had lunch with A, my old boyfriend that I've recently reconnected with. He drove down here for some personal business and we spent a few hours together. He has two sons, 17 and 12, and has been married for almost 20 years. I mentioned in my last post that I'm finding it hard to wrap my brain around the fact that all my contemporaries have teenage kids, but that's because I've spent the last 5 years surrounded (somewhat virtually) by women who are infertile. Normal people get married in their 20s and have kids, there's no question, no drama, no tears.

Of all the married couples we know, only one doesn't have any children, and they are the parents of a stillborn son. Many of those infertile women I've met persevered and now have children as well, by some means.

On the long drive home I was unprepared for how sad I got. We'd had some laughs and it had not been a serious afternoon by any stretch. I was so happy that he was so happy, and we'd talked about how my life turned out just fine, but in all that history there was so much wasted time, so much heartache. After spending 5 years getting up the courage to get out of a horrible marriage, while D waited for me, we were so damned happy just to be together we didn't think of anything but ourselves for the next 5 years. Finally at 36 I decided it made sense to marry this wonderful man and, for the first time in my life, I felt safe enough to want to have a baby. You know the rest. As I cried in his arms last night, D whispered, you have a wonderful life, and I whispered back, I know. I wish I had never wanted a child, so I didn't have to carry this grief.

I'll get back to the horsey posts soon, I promise, I've just needed to process some of this by writing it down.
Right after I finished writing this I found out that the wife of one of my old drum corps friends was killed in a car accident a couple of weeks ago. The funeral was today; I suspect they waited until their daughter (who was driving but not at fault) was out of the hospital so she could be there. I've spent the day in a teary daze. I just can't imagine losing my husband. They have three children in their teens, she was only 41. I hope noone reading this takes this the wrong way, but when I heard this news I was happy for my friend that he had children. Please tell someone you love that you love them today.


  1. Everyday is a gift.

    Sometimes that is easy to forget. Yesterday, my best friend was buried. It is so difficult to let go.

    Thru tears ... we count our blessings!

  2. I'm not considered a family b/c I have no husband. It's the number, not the composition.

    Sorry about your friend's wife. It'll mean a lot for them to have others to hug.

  3. Oh, Donna, dear... I wish I could fly on down there and give you a hug. When the dark hours come for me, and I am asking myself why... sometimes the only thing that helps is thinking about people who understand what I'm feeling. And honestly, even though we don't talk tons and don't see each other... I have thought of you in those moments. And that has helped me.

    I've often pondered as to whether P and I are a family... and have felt the same void. You're not really a family until... and it hurts. Especially when the one who SA'd me has two beautiful, beautiful children. How is that fair or right? It simply is not.

    I find myself wishing that it could be okay for you to adopt, financially, emotionally or whatever, so that you could feel what you so deserve to feel. You would make a wonderful mother. But even without that, you are a wonderful person and, I think, probably a wonderful friend and I'm sure your D is so happy to have found you.

    Take care, my dear, and may this cloud be on its way soon.

  4. Last night I signed a card for my cousin and her husband, who just had their first child, and I hesitated about what to write. I realized how often people use the term "your new family" when a first baby is born, but not for a second child, and not for a marriage.

    D. and I refer to ourselves as "a family of three" (our dog Sadie being the third). If we didn't include Sadie, would we consider ourselves a family unit? I don't know. Do others think we are a family? Doubtful.

    I'm sorry for your sad day, and for the loss of your friend's wife.

  5. Well, I guess it depends on how you perceive family, as a word in the dictionary or as an integral part of your "inner circle."

    Peersonally,I don't think family depends on a number, I think it depends on a feeling.

    My "family of origin" doesn't feel like a family. They rejected me long ago and there's no way I long to be back in that mess.

    Even when my children were at home, I still was connected to that "family of origin. " I was so laden with baggage I didn't feel like I belonged anywhere, even in my immediate family with my children.

    Now that I have healed from all of that, I realize that I have an extended family of my personal chosing. People who care about me for who I am. They are such special people and I am blessed to finally have a family.

  6. Oh Donna, I'm so sorry to hear about your friend. And I'm also sorry for the emotional pain you've been going through. Sending a big hug your way. xo

  7. You are a family. And you have more family members (and grow more every year) than you know.

    I'm sorry for your grief, and so sorry for your friend and their children.

    Tears help wash the soul's pain away. Not completely, but they help.

    I hope you'll be in touch with all your blessings and happiness, which you so richly deserve, soon.

  8. Oh, that poor family, I am so sorry for their loss.

    Hugs and love to you Donna in this melancholy time.

  9. I love you sweetie. I'm wishing I could be there to hug you.

  10. I've stuggled with this definition of 'family' as well. When Greg and I were married, I opted to take on his last name because to me, I wanted to think of US as a family regardless of whether we had kids. But I still struggle to find the right words when someone stupidly points out that I shouldn't have changed my name because we don't have kids so it's not important.

  11. I have a slightly different situation as far as family and children go, that may interest you. My husband and I will probably never have children. At the moment, as far as he is concerned, we have made that decision together and it can be subject to change at any time.

    However, over the relatively few years we have been married, I have come to realize that we should never have children. He has many emotional issues and baggage that he refuses to deal with. I cannot bring children into the world with him as their father.

    In a way, we have both been robbed.

  12. Ahhh....then I guess I'm not "normal" just because I'm over 30 and I've never been married. Well, EXCUSE ME- not all of us are lucky enough to have found "the right one" yet.